I interviewed a good friend of mine a few weeks ago, and I’m just getting around to posting it. I figured that parents could use a little encouragement along their bilingual journey. This journey isn’t always easy, and parents can find themselves second guessing their choices or their abilities to raise a bilingual child.
In this interview, Melissa talks about how she had uncertainties and fears around raising her daughter to be bilingual. Now, I was not a presence in Melissa’s life during their bilingual journey, so she deserves all of the credit for her daughter, Gi, who communicates beautifully in both languages. I just wanted to share with my audience how this amazing woman did it, but also, how she also had doubts. Almost every parent I meet does as well! So, you’re not alone.
The language method that Melissa uses is Heritage Language Only in the home. This method works the best, typically, when the family speaks the same heritage language (home language) and can establish the rule from a very young age that at home, only Spanish is spoken (or Japanese or Portuguese, etc). For some families, this method feels very natural. For other families, such as families who speak various languages or families who code-switch frequently to the majority language, this may not work for them to say that only one language is spoken in the home. But, either way, creating an expectation that your heritage language is spoken frequently (if not always) at home, and that “we are a Spanish or Russian or Vietnamese speaking family” will help you and your children to understand what the language expectations are. It can help you to feel more consistent and your child to accept that speaking in your home language is just another part of daily living.
What languages does your family speak at home? Have you found a method yet? Do you need some help in choosing a method? My book, I Can Be Bilingual, is for sale now and you can purchase it here. Having a guide can help you through the challenges you may face along this journey. I’d love to be there to cheer you along! You can do this!